Saturday, January 31, 2015
Tags Posts tagged with "Rick Spielman"

Rick Spielman

The Vikings want an “all-encompassing” wide receiver added to the roster this year, if possible, but whether or not they can find that guy (whoever that might be) they should still be looking at others for overall improvement to the passing game’s arsenal.

One of the guys they are reportedly going to check out, according to Leonard Washington as passed along by SportingSota, is free agent wide out Steve Breaston.

After showing to be a capable receiver when starting across from Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona, Breaston jumped ship to Kansas City where poor quarterback play and other factors essentially caused him to fall off the face of the earth.  According to the reports, the Vikings will meet with Breaston this week along with the Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, and Detroit Lions.  He has already met with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It is a bit surprising to see the 29 year old generating this much interest.  He is five seasons removed from his career best totals of 77 catches, 1,006 yards, and three touchdowns.  Last season in Kansas City he was completely cut out of the Chiefs offense (if you want to call it that) and only managed seven catches for 74 yards.

On the surface, Breaston doesn’t really fit the mold of what the Vikings should be looking for, as he isn’t exactly a beacon of youth and doesn’t necessarily “do it all.”  At 6′ 0″ and 189 pounds he isn’t going to command a ton of red zone respect, and his speed doesn’t represent the dangerous type coveted to open things up for Adrian Peterson.

If the price is right, however, signing Breaston could make some sense when you think about Rick Spielman’s stated goals.  First, because Breaston is not a natural free agent (the Chiefs cut him) he would not count against the Vikings if they are hoping to get 2014 compensatory picks.  Only natural unrestricted free agents count against that formula, and Spielman has stated he wants to have 10 draft picks going into any Draft.

Second, the presence of a veteran receiver at this point in the offseason could relieve some pressure that is currently on Spielman to make some big moves at the position.  Breaston’s presence isn’t going to solve the Percy Harvin situation, and it won’t give the Vikings any added leverage in free agency, and it won’t squelch the need to draft some young wide outs… but, it will provide some decent insurance in case one of the above doesn’t go quite as planned.

I don’t know that Breaston is the type of guy that would ignite a fanbase, or cause a spike in season ticket sales, but it is nice to know that the Vikings haven’t totally turned out the lights on free agency before it has even started.

 

Are you a wide receiver that has declared for the 2013 NFL Draft?  You are?  Well, then you can fully expect that between now and Draft Day you will be the subject of my “Draft Target” series at some point because, well, the Vikings need help at the position.

Quinton Patton, you are up next!

Patton hails from Louisiana Tech where he played for his junior and senior seasons after playing his first two seasons for the football powerhouse that is Coffeyville Community College.  Patton stands at 6′ 0″ and 200 pounds and combined for 2,594 yards and 24 touchdowns in his final two seasons.

The Vikings reportedly met with Patton during this week’s Combine, which isn’t anything surprising, but they are sure to be interested in a wide out with his skill set to try and boost their offensive production.  A guy like Patton is of particular interest because he is not expected to require a first round investment to obtain.

Patton doesn’t have elite size and he didn’t burn up the forty yard dash in Indy (4.53), but he has very soft hands and is perhaps the most refined route runner in this class.  In fact, Patton didn’t finish among the best at any Combine event other than the 20 yard shuffle, which somewhat aligns with his pedigree.

Where Patton might lack elite he speed he makes up for it with excellent fundamentals.  He gets of the line very quick which prevents an opposing corner from jamming him with success, he displays very good acceleration and body control throughout his route, and has enough wiggle after the catch to make great things happen.  Perhaps my favorite trait he possesses is his ability and willingness to go across the middle on a route with a toughness and attitude that reminds me of a young Brandon Marshall.

He also has a reputation as a player that never takes a play off, is very instinctive and intelligent on the field, and is a rare college prospect that is a proven down field blocker.  One of the best cornerbacks in this Draft class, Johnthan Banks from Mississippi State, says that Patton is the best and most complete wide out he played against in college.

“I feel like (Patton) from Louisiana Tech is the best receiver I’ve played against since I’ve been here,” said Banks. “I’ve gone against some good ones in the SEC, too, but he’s probably the most complete.”

Complete.  Now there is a word that is sure to appeal to Rick Spielman after his Head Coach’s recent comments about what he is looking for in a wide out.

“You’re always looking for speed at the wide receiver position,” said Frazier in Indianapolis. “We need an all-encompassing guy — can run by some people, make a difficult catch, run with the ball after he catches it.”

Patton just might be the “all-encompassing guy” that Frazier is after to take his passing game to the next level, and Spielman may not have to use up his first rounder to get him.

Oh, plus the guy can return kicks pretty darn good, too.

I have long carried a banner that says “Accuracy By Volume” when it comes to my hopes for successful Vikings drafts.

When Rick Spielman was available to the press in Indianapolis he was asked a lot of questions that he essentially left unanswered.  He offered up nothing new regarding Percy Harvin’s status with the team.  He indicated very little when it comes to possibly restructuring the contracts of veteran players such as Jared Allen and Kevin Williams.  He didn’t say much at all that couldn’t have been predicted, almost verbatim, by anyone that even casually follows the NFL.

One thing he did say, however, perhaps offers a clue to solving the puzzle that is offseason speculation.

“I like picks,” Spielman said when asked about the possibility of trading down on Draft Day.  “My goal is to always have 10, if I can have 10 picks.”

I found these two sentences to be more intriguing than all the others that he spoke combined.  Why?  Because that leaves Spielman one pick short of his goal, that’s why.

I consider this to be a sort of bat signal, an invitation to other teams, indicating the Minnesota Vikings are open for business.  It sounds to me like Spielman has every intention of adding one more pick this season, and it won’t come as a compensatory selection, and would likely prefer to get a jump start on stockpiling 2014 picks, as well.

There are a number of ways Spielman can attain his desired quantity of picks.  Trading down from the #23 spot would go a long ways towards meeting that goal, but so would trading players… good players… really good wide receivers that can also return kicks and line up as a running back, perhaps.

As the Pioneer Press managed to point out when they weren’t stalking Percy Harvin at his Florida home, the Vikings have selected 10 players in each of the last two drafts, and 18 of those 20 are still on the roster today.  Nine of them played as starters, or saw significant playing time, in 2012 and are expected to contribute even more next season.

This Draft class, as acknowledged by Spielman and plenty of others, is considered to be a very deep one with a record number of underclassmen available for the taking.  It may not be as top heavy as in years passed, but there are impact players expected to come off the board in all rounds, particularly in the offensive and defensive line groups.

Prior to the 2011 Draft, I indicated that Spielman has plenty of mistakes on record that resulted from ill-advised trades, but he has somewhat vindicated himself while enjoying more power and freedom during the Leslie Frazier era.

Spielman’s comments in Indianapolis should be considered fair warning, though, that he is aiming for three years straight of successful movement on Draft Weekend.

Which, of course, will make things a hell of a lot of fun.

As a small blog, we try but struggle to “keep up with the Joneses” when it comes to reporting every little thing within moments of somebody saying or doing something newsworthy.  We just don’t have the resources that many of the bigger outlets have, so we try to make up for it with character.

This week, however, I can honestly say that it has been a really long time since I have been quite so disappointed with these larger newsies and beat writers.  They just keep on regurgitating old news, particularly about Percy Harvin, and half-assedly making it look like they are adding something new to the conversation.

They aren’t.

With that being said, some of this stale “news” is making it’s way into today’s Links segment, but we are trying to send you towards the best, more innovative stories that we can find:

  • For some reason Adrian Peterson would like to see Dwight Freeney join the Vikings.  Another high priced, aging defensive end anybody?
  • When it comes to Percy Harvin, Rick Spielman is saying the same exact thing he has been saying all along.  But, he said it again so, therefore, it is news.  Again.
  • At the Combine Spielman talked up a number of receiver prospects while tossing some light criticism towards Christian Ponder and Manti Te’o.
  • An examination of whether it should be Cris Carter or Randy Moss that is connsidered the best Vikings receiver of all time.
  • Mortenson Construction has been awarded the bid for construction of the Vikings new stadium.
  • This is officially going to be the last season the Minnesota Vikings play in the Metrodome.
  • Former Viking Husain Abdullah has signed with the Chiefs after a year off of football.
  • One of the better Harvin articles to be posted this week, without a doubt.
  • Ponder threw the deep ball less than any quarterback in 2012, but that can’t continue into next season.
  • Combine rumors are already making the rounds in Indy, and one of them is connecting quarterback Drew Stanton to the Vikings.  I was not kind to Stanton in my free agency rankings.
  • On offense, all eyes will be on the wide receivers during this week’s Combine for Vikings fans.
  • As already discussed, the Vikings are expected to be very healthy this offseason, despite a few surgeries being needed after 2012.
  • Spielman says he doesn’t plan to spend big during free agency again this year.
  • The Pioneer Press stooped to a new low by following Harvin to his Florida home, getting a “no comment” answer from him, and then acting like they broke the biggest story since Watergate.
  • The NFL released a tentative Draft order and the Vikings do now have nine picks, which was in question earlier this offseason.
  • And, here it is, your moment of Zen:

If I didn’t know better, I would say that Rick Spielman’s recent comments about Manti Te’o indicate that, at the very least, he is intrigued by the possibility of drafting Notre Dame’s star linebacker.

We have previously discussed the choice Te’o would present the Vikings if he were available while they are on the clock in April, and Spielman sounds like he is tuning in to the media coverage of the whole “fake girlfriend” thing to keep tabs on the situation.  He admitted to watching Dr. Phil for the first time in his life when Te’o’s prankster culprit, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, was being interviewed.

That tells me he is at least a little interested in Te’o.

“In the end, you’ll sit there and discuss all that,” Spielman said of the bizarre story. “Every team will make their own determination. How do you compare what happened, because he’s an extremely talented football player, against a guy who may have a drug issue or may have an arrest record or may have some other off-field issue? Everybody’s going to have, just like on any player, their difference of opinion. We’ll go through that process as well.”

He also says that the Vikings are aware of some details that have not yet been reported by any media outlets, which displays that they are doing their homework on the young linebacker.

Spielman says that the Vikings will evaluate the Te’o’s “whole body of work” and that the odd story, as well as his poor play in the championship game, will only factor into their evaluation as a part of the whole.

Of all the players in this draft class, I suspect steam will pick up greatly in the next few week’s as far as connecting Te’o to the Vikings, and that might be exactly what Spielman wants to see happen.

What we know, however, is that the Vikings are either interested or pretending to be interested.

 

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